Potential Speed-IF Jam ideas (Cloak of Darkness Jam?)

I’m thinking of doing a series of exercises for beginners, but I’m not sure I should be the one to do it. Not when I get flak for saying “You can do CYOA games from scratch in an afternoon.”

ITMT, try simple writing simple games and get it out there. I personally like ScottKit, but Adventuron is a good substitute. You already know Twine, but ChoiceScript and Inkle are good, too. You don’t need to enter any competition until you’re ready.

What might be cool is a speedIF/jam/light comp where everyone gets the same short scenario to implement in however way they’d like to in whatever engine they feel like, with the stipulation that code must be also provided so people can review/learn from it.

Sort of 48-Hour Film Fest - in that teams had 48 hours to write, produce, film, edit and deliver an 8-12 minute movie containing all the required details (specific character name, prop, and line of dialogue) provided only at the start of the time limit. Everyone also drew an individual random genre which was wacky if you got Western or SciFi. For IF you wouldn’t need the genre, but it might be cool to see 18 different versions of how people present the toothbrushing experience (genre and detail open for interpretation!)


I really like this. I might actually enter this one if it ever happened.


Speed-IF is awesome and cool - for this type of thing it wouldn’t need to be 48 hours - as a writer I appreciate a generous interpretation of “speed”. It could be “here’s the scenario, present your game and code by the end of August” or something.

Would people be up for something like that on the Forum? It doesn’t even have to be formal, just like an occasional month-long challenge in the Competitions category; “Reply to this post with a file or a link to find your game about [parameters] and its code by (such and such date)” then lock that thread and link to a discussion/review thread.


The Punyinform Jam was something like this. Everyone started with the same opening scene in a pub closet and then had to develop a game from there. They were restricted to using Inform 6 with the Punyinform Library.


Yes :slight_smile:

Though I’d argue for either a date after the IFComp deadline or a shorter window (48h / a weekend seems good)

People can already do that themselves, right? Just roll a few StoryCubes, and you’re ready to go! Just come up with a tag that people can use, that’s all.

You’d think it would interfere, but that’s the cool thing about Speed-IF: in most, the idea is it’s not expected to be perfect, it’s just an exercise you can play with for a couple hours or longer and present if you have the time. Like how Ectocomp forces a strict time limit but you don’t have to do it all at once, chess-clock style.

I remember the year we did Cragne Manor and only had to do one room, it was right before IFComp. (I say right before but in reality like 3-4 months? That’s fast to code and test Inform 7 but we also had the inhumanly capable support of Jenni and Ryan.) We were told it could be as simple as it needed to be so long as it met parameters. I grumbled because I had an IFComp entry to finish and swore I’d just implement some menacing wallpaper and be done. But they fed me an awesome locale and of course I dropped everything and ended up producing a room that is probably in the top ten for highest word-count. How long did we have for that? Like two months total? Right before IFComp*.

Low expectations, low commitment, fabulous opportunity for inspiration. Especially if you’re working on something else and already warmed-up, it’s an amazing palate-cleanser/powerup.

*As I remember, the deadlines were before IFComp, but Cragne wasn’t released until December during IFComp since they had to wrestle 80+ multi-tentacled separate games together into one enormous thing.


Well, if you do it by yourself, it’s not much of a community thing!

The goal I think would be to see how multiple people make the same thing work in every different engine. Like “Cloak of Darkness Jam” (although something different from Cloak of Darkness…)

ECTOcomp doesn’t force a strict limit anymore. There are 2 categories: Petite Mort in less than (I think) 4 hours and Grand Guignol with no time limit. Last year I went in planning on making a Petite Mort game and wound up spending most of October making my game instead. :sweat_smile:

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And that’s actually better - I entered before when it was just Petit Mort, and the next year I had a petit entry that crashed and burned because I couldn’t get it working and I didn’t enter. The next year they implemented the Grand Guignol category and that gave me opportunity and motivation to finish the old game since I was allowed more time!

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Sure, in this case it worked great for both of us. But if the deadline for ECTOcomp were end of August I don’t think I’d enter. With a strict time limit I’d know I’m not going to get sidetracked.

Plus, Ectocomp lands right after submission deadlines for IFComp, and it makes a good wind down / stress reliever for authors who haven’t collapsed in a runny heap in September.

Then you want at minimum:

  • Locations/Map links
  • Objects/Initial placement

Optional Suggestion:

  • Verbs+Nouns (w/ synonyms)
  • Command Samples
  • Story Outline/Puzzles
  • Hints for variables tracking/usage

If you do it per topic, then people won’t work on the same Puzzles and any potential for implementation comparison is lost.

So would it require locations, map links, objects, verbs and nouns if I use Twine?

I have mentioned a TADS Jam recently in another thread. I have a Winter TADS Jam in the works that would start after IF Comp. I was waiting until after the end of Parser Comp to make the announcement. My intent is to generate interest in TADS.

Actually though, Jams are fun. The more the better.

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Obviously you need Story. Story needs locations and objects. Locations not necessarily mapped, i.e. linked to certain locations.

Certainly a lot of Twine games I played features locations that are mapped, so yes, it can be very helpful to have it.

It’s impressive how the suggestion of a new competition immediately devolved into someone applying parser specific restrictions on it. It took about 30 minutes. Is this our new record?



I don’t see anything parser specific suggestion in my response? Are you saying Cloak of Darkness, with its specific Mapping and Object Location, doesn’t work as Non-parser game?


Does that mean you’re against “Cloak of Darkness jam”? I thought that was the point?


It’s pretty difficult to do verbs and nouns in choice games.

I didn’t necessarily mean to single you out, other than the verb thing. I’m not happy that it went from “we should have a 48 hour comp with a writing prompt and the we all share the source!” to “we should all try to make the same game even though all IF formats are different.”

I mean, if you don’t mind me ranting for a second: the reason that Cloak of Darkness (and now Craverly Heights) works so well is that all parser engines are the damn same. Maybe not under the surface for the coders, but the optimal output of a parser engine is that the end user can’t even tell them apart. How boring is that?

It’s just a bit frustrating as someone that has grown a bit tired of that format to be constantly excluded from everything because I want a bit of variety. Not all IF has to fit the generic paint-by-numbers parser mold.